Here it is, your preseason glance at 3A!
With 3A, we wrap up a complete set of rankings for each of Colorado's classifications. 3A is guaranteed new state champions this spring, so let's take a peak at who's in the running:
1. Lutheran - Can Lutheran go from winning 2A one year to winning 3A the next? It's clearly within the realm of possibility, but by no means a done deal. Sprints and relays figure to be the cornerstone of the program, with some help from field events.
2. Platte Valley - The Broncos have the requisite ability to score points in big bunches. This team is heavy in hurdles and field events, suggesting relays could be an Achilles heal for them at state.
3. Coal Ridge - If you do a virtual meet on 3A boys, it's tough to find the Coal Ridge needle in the haystack. But, a very nice turnout this spring and maybe the fastest-growing body of tradition in the state tell you what you need to know about this team.
4. Lamar - Graduation hit the throws, but the throws will be back. Meanwhile, Lamar keeps developing talent across the spectrum of events. Look for distance to be a big part of this year's run at a title.
5. Bayfield - The Wolverines are another field event heavy team in the hunt, perhaps getting some help from the distance ranks as well. It's a tough road to travel, but Bayfield is a solid program.
6. Colorado Springs Christian - It's not a deep program as it once was, but Michael Jacobson, Ethan Rummell, and Jake Dunn are three guys who can put points on the board.
7. Frontier Academy - A little bit like Coal Ridge--rocked by graduation, but an emerging tradition of track and field excellence will keep this program around as one to be concerned about.
8. Eaton - Garrett Coalson is the big fixture in the program right now, but too much happens well at Eaton for this team to slip much more than this in the 3A order of things.
9. Manitou Springs - The Mustangs lost some to graduation last spring, but they always bring a devastating set of relays to the table. Never go to sleep on this team.
10. Salida - Add one more big producer to the tandem of Taylor Stack and Gallian Roberts, and this team will be a team of a lot more concern than folks are accustomed to sending Salida's way in recent years.
1. Eaton - Could this be the year Eaton emerges on top? The ranks of sprinters have been thinned a little, and that could be a concern for relays, but there is plenty of point-scoring potential around nevertheless. In something of a 3A theme for 2015, this team is very deep and strong in field events.
2. Coal Ridge - Look for the Titans to be breathing down Eaton's back all spring. The two teams likely won't see each other until state, but they will definitely be aware of each other.
3. Lamar - If you're looking for a third serious contender for the crown, Lamar will do nicely. The Savages have both talent and state experience. They may, however, be a little thin in sprint depth for high-end relays.
4. Moffat County - Kayla Pinnt is the most recognizable name on this team, but Moffat County goes deeper than Pinnt. Relays should be solid. Distance and hurdles should produce. I think we have a fourth serious contender for the team title, though Moffat County is, perhaps, a bit of a dark horse compared to the other three.
5. Faith Christian Academy - Sarah Yocum headlines a new program under a new coach. Yocum raised a few eyebrows last spring as a freshman. The Eagles are not far from the top of the 3A pile, but will need to build some strength around Yocum.
6. Salida - Taryn Ceglowski is coming into her own as a top distance runner. Morgaan Walters-Schaler is a solid long sprinter. There should be a very strong 4x800. This team could be upwardly mobile.
7. Estes Park - Like Salida, the Bobcats have a lot of potential to get things done in distance. It's not a great platform from which to mount a state title charge, but it will keep Estes Park as a team of interest.
8. Peak to Peak - If the pieces all come together, there's talent enough in this program for this team to finish a lot higher than ninth. We'll wait and see what happens this spring.
9. Sterling - It's mostly a jumps show for the Tigers. Sterling will have to broaden the show to rise above this level.
10. Liberty Common - LC comes up from 2A figuring to continue making noise in 3A. The trend of their development in 2A says they can, even if graduation did stick it to the program a little last spring.